Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

By Terri Harber

The Baker City Bank of America branch will close its doors in mid-October.

"These are difficult decisions to make, and we do not take them lightly," said Britney Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the corporation. "In this case, the banking center did not generate enough foot traffic to justify its presence."

The specific closing date is Oct. 12.

Local customers are being notified about the closure now- more than 90 days ahead - to give them "ample time to familiarize themselves with a new location or explore alternative banking channels," she also said.

Alternatives include making transactions by telephone, online or ATM.

The Washington Avenue location has an ATM on the property that stands separate from the building itself. It's the only Bank of America-controlled ATM in the city.

The next closest Bank of America branch and ATM are in LaGrande.

Whether a Bank of America ATM still would be in the city after the branch closes hasn't been decided, Sheehan said.

Bank of America also owns the Washington Avenue building now housing its branch operation.

The Ison House is one of the city's historic buildings. It's a two-story, Queen Anne-style built in 1887 of bricks from Portland.

Sheehan said the corporation's plan is to put the building up for sale using the website

She emphasized that when a branch is closed that the corporation provides "various forms of assistance to impacted employees, including helping them find other opportunities within the company."

The corporate policy is not to disclose the number of people working at individual branches and locations, she said.

The city doesn't have any say about ownership of historic buildings but could end up involved should the new owner "want to tear it down or modernize it," said Gail Duman, chairwoman of the Historic District Design Review Commission.

The commissioners could find that the new owner couldn't gut or significantly modify the structure. The owner, in turn, could ask the City Council to consider overturning the decision.

Baker City's Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. This building, originally a residence, is among dozens of structures built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries within the district.

Other structures of note include Baker City Hall and the Baker County Courthouse.